In the Christian world, there are two groups of people: those who have knowledge about God, and those who personally know God. Ken and Kyle are such people. Ken knows about God, while Kyle truly knows his God.
Ken believes the lie that knowledge is a means in which he can win the approval of God and of men. He doesn’t talk much about connecting with God, or truly experiencing the Father’s love. His daily drive is to attain and maintain God’s love and approval by regularly pursuing new nuggets of facts from the Bible and sermons.
To him, the Bible is a treasure map to be unearthed, a textbook to be studied. God is simply a cosmic experiment to be dissected and categorized. When Ken teaches at church, his message is the academic flex of his mental muscle, void of any relational dynamics. He doesn’t view the Bible as a love letter God wrote to draw the hearts of His children. He has never seen God as a smiling and happy Dad, laughing and enjoying His kids.
Ken lives in a theoretical reality, and often judges others for their lack of accuracy and for not studying the Bible enough. To Ken, accuracy is the ultimate end, not intimacy. He doesn’t view people as those he can know, love and enjoy. Instead, he sees them as students to be educated and corrected for accuracy.
This knowledge cult has consumed Ken. The fruit of this lifestyle has resulted with pride. “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Cor. 8:1) On top of that, because of the fact that he lacks intimacy with the loving God, he has not experienced the Father’s love. As a result of not receiving the Father’s love, Ken lives a life of stress, anxiety, and bitterness.
I have lived like Ken for years. I am a recovering Ken.
Kyle’s story is very different from Ken’s.
Kyle views the Bible as a love letter from God. He uses the accurate truth of the Bible to develop a heart-based loving relationship with his Father in heaven. He diligently studies the Bible with the motive of deepening his intimacy with God. Kyle enjoys reading and studying the Bible because he believes and feels that God loves him. He doesn’t believe the lie that says you have to read the Bible to earn your brownie points for the day. For him, thoroughly studying the Bible is a mandatory means to an end, not an end in itself.
Kyle has personally experienced the Father’s love to the core of his heart. He lives in and works out of this love all day long. As a result, he doesn’t struggle with pride, since his time in God’s presence leaves him broken and soft hearted towards others. The life changing love that he has experienced with his heavenly Dad is funneled out to his wife, kids, and everyone else in his life. He can’t help but love, in light of the love he experiences from his heavenly Father (1 Jn. 4:19). As he continually is filled with this love, he will daily live a life of peace, faith, and forgiveness. Worship and gratitude will be as natural for him as breathing. Insecurity is a thing of the past.
During Judgment Day, Jesus will say to Ken, “I never knew you…” (Mt. 7:23) Whereas, Jesus will welcome Kyle because Kyle believed, obeyed, and had a growing loving relationship with his Lord and Savior.
Kyle’s belief system and authentic faith is evidenced by his love for others, while Ken often struggles with being judgmental and annoyed with others. “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 Jn. 4:7-8
May you know the joy of pursuing a relationship with your heavenly Dad, not facts from a book.
The difference could possibly mean heaven and hell for you.
Michael Trillo is founder and director of Breakthrough Ministries Worldwide. He is a speaker and the author of What Does God Really Want?, available at www.WhatDoesGodReallyWant.com. Michael can be contacted at [email protected]